Monthly Archives: January 2013

The steady drip, drip, drip of the O’Bannon suit

The NCAA loses another procedural motion.

The ruling doesn’t grant the ex-players certification in their suit against the NCAA, Collegiate Licensing Company and EA Sports over the commercialized use of athletes’ image, name and likeness.

But the decision staves off the NCAA’s attempt to end the case now after filing a 33-page motion last October to strike the certification motion. A certification hearing has been set for June 20.

I’m not sure the ruling is quite as big a deal as plaintiff’s counsel makes it out to be, but it’s rather more than the NCAA’s legal ace says it is.

“Although our motion to strike was denied, the Judge has signaled skepticism on plaintiff’s class certification motion and recognized the plaintiffs’ radical change in their theory of the case,” NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said in a statement. “This is a step in the right direction toward allowing the NCAA to further demonstrate why this case is wrong on the law and that plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that this case satisfies the criteria for class litigation.”

Sorry, sport, but when you’ve filed a motion to kick a case to the curb, being told by the judge that, instead, you have to make your case on the merits isn’t “a step in the right direction”.  It’s a loss.  It’s not the only one the NCAA has suffered in this matter, either.  None of them are decisive, but taken collectively, there’s a trend afoot.

And that’s what should make the NCAA more than a little nervous at this point.  From where I’m sitting, it looks like you’ve got a judge who wishes the parties would get their collective heads out of their asses and reach some sort of settlement.  Unfortunately, she may be underestimating Mark Emmert’s tone deafness.  It wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened.

If this suit actually sees the inside of a courtroom, I have little doubt the plaintiffs – whomever they wind up being – will win.  And that will be the cherry on top of the sundae that is Emmert’s presidency.  Burn down the plantation, for the win!

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6 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Mano-a-mano

Sorry, Todd Grantham, but if you can’t win this battle, you need to turn in your recruiter card.

Devin Bellamy, a defensive end from Chamblee High School, backed off his longtime pledge to FSU on late Tuesday. It was mainly because the two assistant coaches that landed him for the Seminoles have left for other jobs.

… The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder said his high school called Florida State on Tuesday night to inform them of the news while he was in a lengthy meeting with Tennessee’s new defensive coordinator, John Jancek…

“UGA is still my leader, but one thing I must say is that Tennessee is right behind them … right behind them,” Bellamy said. “I mean, it’s hand in hand. It’s tough right now.”

Of course, there’s the possibility, given Jancek’s talent evaluation skills when he was in Athens, that Bellamy isn’t worth the attention he’s getting, but that’s a bridge to be crossed at a later date.  Right now, it’s more important that the rightful order of the universe be maintained.  I can put up with Kirby snatching a few local boys.  But letting a guy who got run out of town partly because of poor recruiting pull this off?  That ain’t right.

10 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Reader poll: to renew or not to renew, that is the question.

This one comes via a suggestion from Rocketdawg – quite simply, I’d like to get a gauge on how many season ticket holders plan on renewing their packages this year.  As you’ll see from the questions, I’m also interested in hearing about what those who’ve decided against renewal plan on doing in the alternative.

Please feel free to elaborate on your decision in the comments.  I’d also like to hear from fans from other schools about this.

59 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

One thing a conference television network gets you…

is a legitimate debate about a ten-game conference football schedule.

One possible solution to this that the conference athletic directors are considering is the 10-game conference schedule. Of course, while that balances out home and road games in conference, it only leaves space for two nonconference games, which means it could be just as hard to get to seven home games on the season.

“Most of us need seven home games in order to make our local budgets,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said. “Is there a way to overcome that? I don’t know. We’ll have to look at that. The conference is aware that it’s an issue.”

A reason they can contemplate losing that seventh home game is the math behind what a tenth conference game adds to the value of the broadcast package.

… The more Big Ten games that are played give the Big Ten more Big Ten games to show on its network and sell as part of the conference’s new television deal. All of which leads to more money.

Money that could help overcome the loss of an occasional home game.

This will be interesting to keep an eye on, no doubt.  Especially as we watch Slive tap dance with the networks on the new SEC TV deals (and possible birth of a SEC Network).

9 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football

Thank you, Mike Hamilton.

We all gripe about how the administration at Georgia seems to focus more on the financial bottom line than on the athletic success bottom line, but things could be much, much worse.

Now, after staggering to losing football seasons in four of the last five years and seeing attendance drop to levels last seen in the 1970s, the Vols find themselves mired in more than $200 million of debt, the most in the SEC, with reserves of just $1.95 million, the least in the conference.

The athletic department spends a startling $21 million a year on debt payments, $13.5 million of which comes from the school’s stressed $99.5 million athletic budget and the rest from donations.

That’s what you get when everyone connected to a once-successful football program dips into a till that slowly and surely dwindles.  Multi-million dollar contributions to the school, local taxes, seemingly random stadium expansions and, of course, expensive buy-out payments to fired coaches all took their toll.  Speaking of which, ain’t this a kick in the (urnge) pants?

Tennessee’s reserves were close to $30 million about five years ago, but they’ve been depleted by… $11.4 million in buyouts to fired coaches in football, basketball and baseball, as well as administrators. Hamilton walked away in 2011 with a $1.335 million buyout.

None of that includes a $5 million buyout owed Derek Dooley, who was fired as Tennessee’s football coach in November, and $2 million to his assistants. That $7 million will have to be found in this year’s budget.

I can’t say which stings worse.

But a savior arises.

The financial cavalry is on the way, though, in the form of additional TV revenue from the SEC’s contracts with ESPN and CBS. Those deals average $205 million a year for the league and they are expected to jump to about $300 million annually when they are updated. The conference is renegotiating the contracts to account for the growth to 14 teams with the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M.

Hart said SEC athletic directors have not been told exactly how much new revenue that will mean, but projections are $5 million to $10 million a year for each school. Nowhere in the SEC will that be more welcome than at Tennessee.

You think these guys oppose conference expansion?

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UPDATE:  Year2 looks around the rest of the SEC to see how much its athletic departments have larded themselves up with debt.  ‘Bama and LSU are bigger borrowers than UT; it’s just that they haven’t suffered from a drop in fan support like the Vols have.

33 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

“I think the people of Texas want a game, and we’re trying to get them one.”

Ah, yes… the great American tradition of state legislators stepping in where ADs fear to tread is alive and well.

If it passes, I wonder how those dudes will feel about the law the first time it costs one of those schools a shot at the new playoff.

18 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery

Envy and jealousy: meet the NCAA, “the baggy-pants clowns of Inner Authoritarian Dinner Theater”

I’m not sure you’ll read a better one-sentence summary of the NCAA’s debacle concerning the Miami investigation than this one from Mr. Pierce“In the course of investigating Nevin Shapiro, the NCAA indicted itself.”

True ‘dat.

4 Comments

Filed under Envy and Jealousy